An Italian-American widow, Loretta Castorini, settles for a loveless engagement, believing that she has bad luck nothing better will come along. She meets her future brother-in-law, Ronny Cammareri, and does her best to flee the hot passion that exists between them. But, under the “Bella Luna,” their romance cannot be denied. With love’s ups and downs, they all come together at the conclusion of a whirlwind courtship with a toast to family.
Loretta Castorini is a take charge kind of woman who lives and works in the Italian-American neighborhood of Brooklyn. Brilliantly played by Cher, this character is matter-of-fact, and has little joy in her life. She is resigned to the fact that bad luck has played a major role in her life, and as a widow, she accepts the proposal of Johnny Cammareri. He is a momma’s boy, and the two seem to gravitate to one another out of a sense of duty rather than any love or passion.
Johnny gives her the unenviable task of contacting his younger, estranged brother so that he will attend the wedding. Johnny flies off to Italy to the
Loretta meets Ronny (the younger brother), and tries to impose her will on him as he recounts the reason why he never speaks to his brother…he lost his hand in a bread slicer during a conversation with Johnny. As their arguing escalates, the heat between them leads to the bedroom, and as much as the level-headed Loretta tries to end the affair, the two have a deep chemistry which won’t be denied. Ronny invites her to the opera, and she undergoes a wonderful makeover for the occasion. She covers her gray hair, buys new clothes, and seems to find the light that was snuffed out of her life when her first husband died.
When Johnny returns from Italy, where his mother has a miraculous revival from near death, he decides to call off the engagement in deference to his mother. Within moments, his brother steps in and asks for Loretta’s hand in marriage. A precious moment is when the patriarch, Loretta’s grandfather, becomes confused by the quick turn of events and sobs because he doesn’t understand what is going on. The subplots are in harmony with Loretta’s own roller coaster ride with romance. Her father is having his own affair with a gold-digger, as her mother tries to understand why men chase women. Her mother has dinner with a man, but with her feet firmly on the ground, says goodbye at her doorstep. Her aunt and uncle find a fresh breath of romance under the “Bella Luna” that shines as bright as the noonday sun and seems to guide all the lovers.
Highly recommend watching this entertaining film with all of its dry humor and commentary on life and love.
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